Multan Sultans snub Lahore Qalandars for sixth consecutive defeat in HBL PSL 9

Multan Sultans snub Lahore Qalandars for sixth consecutive defeat in HBL PSL 9
Naeem Niazi
LAHORE, Feb 27 (APP):With wicket-keeper batsman Usman Khan 96 (55) involved in three fifty plus run partnership with Reeza Hendricks 40 (27), Tayyab Tahir 21 (14) and Iftikhar Ahmed 40 (18), Multan Sultans snubbed Lahore Qalandars by 60 runs after they posted the highest total 214-4 of the HBL PSL 9 at the Gaddafi Stadium, here on Tuesday night.
Usman Khan played a valiant knock of 96 including 11 boundaries and two 6s and helped Multan Sultans build a mammoth total of 214 on a placid, batting friendly track after Captain Mohammad Rizwan decided to bat first. Mohammad Rizwan 0 (5) fell early off Shaheen Shah Afridi while Reeza Hendricks continued his good form for his team. Tayyab Tahir played a useful knock of 21 in the middle part of the innings but it was Iftikhar Ahmed who finished the innings in an explosive manner as he hit 40 runs off 18 balls laced with two boundaries and three 6s and catapulted the score beyond 200.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was the most successful bowler for the Qalandars and claimed two wickets for 39 runs. Iftikhar Ahmed plundered 20 runs in Afridi’s third (eighteenth of the of the innings) as he hit two 6s and boundary after being in the head by an Afridi bouncer. Carlos Brathwaite and Sikander Raza picked one wicket each for 36 and 20 runs respectively. Zaman Khan was the most expensive for the Qalandars and conceded 43 runs in his quota of four overs. George Linde, Salman Fayyaz and Jahandad Khan also returned wicketless.
Lahore Qalandars expected their explosive opener Fakhar Zaman to fire in order to overhaul the mammoth total as the openers hit 54 runs for the first wicket but with the fall of Fakhar Zaman 23 (16) in the sixth over and Sahibzada Farhan 31 (21) in the seventh over, their fate was all over the wall. The in-form Rassie Van der Dussen, who hit first century of the HBL PSL 9 against Zalmi on Sunday, tried to stem the rot and build a partnership but his efforts did not bear fruit.
Although the Qalandars maintained a healthy run-rate of almost 10 runs per over by the 12th over, the wickets kept falling at small intervals. Kamran Ghulam 12 (9), Sikander Raza 17 (7) and Shaheen Shah Afridi 9 (5) fell cheaply and in this flux, Rassie lost his calm and perished off Usama Mir’s guile for 30 off 22 balls.
Usama Mir claimed the best bowling figures (6-40) of the HBL PSL 9 as he decimated the Qalandars’ batting line-up for his six wicket haul. Faheem Ashraf has the best bowling figures (6-19) for Islamabad United. Young Faisal Akram claimed two wickets in an impressive bowling spell for 25 runs while Khushdil Shah bagged one wicket for 31 runs.
Usama Mir was adjudged Player of the Match for his excellent performance with the ball. It was the second consecutive night that a leg spinner had picked five or more wicket after a heroics of Arif Yaqoob (5-27) of Peshawar Zalmi.
With the sixth consecutive defeat in as many matches against Multan Sultans in the HBL PSL 9, the Lahore Qalandars have evoked memories of their unsuccessful campaigns in the early editions of the Pakistan Super League. The Qalandars had hardly risen off the bottom of the points table and rued the missed opportunities in those years. This year is not different but, in the way, that they had services of the best fast-bowling trio and in-form Rassie Van der Dussen in their camp. The worst scenario is that they have lost five matches in front of their home-crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
Lahore Qalandars are reeling at the bottom of the table with no points after playing five matches at their home-ground, it is highly unlikely that they may improve their lot when their nearest rivals on the points table will play at their home grounds in Rawalpindi and Karachi. Only a miracle can save Lahore Qalandars from the bleak future in the HBL PSL 9.
Karachi Kings and Islamabad United will meet in their next match at the National Bank Stadium, Karachi at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (tomorrow). Multan Sultan are table toppers with eight points from five matches.
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